Posts

August 20, 2014

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9:18 AM | CDC Interim Ebola Guidance: Environmental Infection Control In Hospitals
Credit CDC PHIL     # 8974     The CDC continues to roll out new interim guidance documents for health care professionals and facilities that at some point may be called upon to deal with an imported Ebola case in the United States.  As always, these are `works in progress’, and are subject to revision over time as more is learned about dealing with this virus.   Although laboratory experiments have shown that the Ebola virus can remain viable on […]
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2:13 AM | 122 sick: Alberta health officials trying to pinpoint cause of E. coli outbreak
A spike of E. coli cases in Alberta has health officials trying to pinpoint the cause. There have been over 120 cases reported over the last few weeks across the province. Officials say since July 15 there have been 59 confirmed … Continue reading →
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2:09 AM | Alberta Health Services investigates E. coli O157:H7 outbreak: over 120 ill
There’s something big going on in Alberta (that’s in Canada). Alberta Health Services is investigating over 120 cases of E. coli illnesses with no known source. Canadian Press reports that there have been 59 confirmed cases in Calgary, 48 cases in Edmonton … Continue reading →
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12:07 AM | Food fraud: It’s what’s for dinner?
David Edwards of the Scientific American Blog Network writes that beef that’s horsemeat, grouper that’s actually tilapia—thins the global economy every year by an estimated $49 billion. That’s a lot of bogus burgers and suspect sushi.  Yet containing the problem … Continue reading →

August 19, 2014

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8:45 PM | A Call for Transparency and Objectivity in European Science Policy Making
Let’s talk politics. Politics and science. The European Commission (EC), according to its own description, “represents the interests of the EU as a whole. It proposes new legislation to the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, and it ensures that EU law is correctly applied by member countries”. Part of its mandate […]
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8:35 PM | From the Salmonella in low moisture foods file: Trader Joe’s almond butter edition
At the 2007 IAFP annual meeting in Florida, CDC foodborne illness outbreak guru Robert Tauxe told symposium audience that the next big thing for food safety was low-moisture ingredients. Salmonella is hardy, especially when stressed through drying, so it sticks around … Continue reading →
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6:40 PM | 2 dead from Vibrio in raw fish in Korea
Health officials in Incheon are on alert after two vibrio sepsis patients died there while receiving treatment. They contracted the disease after eating raw fish. This year, 10 cases of vibrio sepsis have been reported throughout the country, most of … Continue reading →
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6:04 PM | One dead and two others ill from botulism-linked fermented fish in Alaska
Fermented fish isn’t for me. It’s not just a quality/taste thing, I also worry about the safety of the fermentation process – especially if it was carried out at home. Deviating from the prescribed steps can create the perfect environment … Continue reading →
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3:30 PM | NPPTL N95 Day Webinar: Respirator Preparedness in Healthcare
  # 8973     A follow up to yesterday’s post (CDC Guidance: Donning & Removing PPEs), two weeks from this coming Friday (Sept 5th), NIOSH and NPPTL (The National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory) will hold a webinar designed for Health care workers on Respirator Preparedness as part of their annual  N95 day promotion.   For details on how to register (attendance is limited), and for more on other N95 day activities, here are some excerpts from […]
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12:54 PM | VDU Blog: How To Support Ebola Relief Efforts
    # 8972   Dr. Ian Mackay has just posted a blog on how you can help to get PPEs and other needed supplies to those on the front lines battling the Ebola outbreak in Western Africa.   I’ll not delay you any further, and simply ask that you go visit – and then take to heart – his appeal.     Protect the healthcare workers>>save lives>>stop Ebola virus disease
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12:45 PM | Behind the Science: Painting ants and cracking acorns
Stepping into the lab last week, you would have no idea that the summer — for our undergraduates, at least — is winding to an end and that the academic school year is about to start. Last Tuesday I found Joe Karlik and Hanna Moxley, both rising seniors, busy running research trials and starting new experiments in the lab. Joe Karlik has been trying to figure out why Temnothorax curvispinosus (also known as acorn ants) often stick their larvae and pupae, known as “brood,” […]
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12:19 PM | BacterioFiles 179 - Functionless Phages Feel Fatiguing
This episode: Defective phages in bacterial genomes can still have burdensome effects! Why do the bacteria keep them around? Download Episode (10.4 MB, 11.3 minutes)Show notes:Journal Paper Other interesting stories: Microbes are essential and important for all life on the planet Modified virus could treat most dangerous brain cancers Microbes help inhibit worms that harm plants (paper) Trying to figure out what gut viruses people had in the 14th century (paper) Beewolves have close […]
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12:10 PM | WHO Ebola Assessment – Guinea & Nigeria
Credit CDC     # 8071     Although it is hard to find anything other than apocalyptic doom and gloom coming out of media reports on the Ebola outbreak in Western  Africa, the World Health Organization reports some encouraging signs – at least in Guinea and Nigeria – as outlined in the following statement mailed to journalists this morning.   Ebola assessment 19 August 2014 Ebola virus disease Situation in Nigeria […]
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11:41 AM | CMI: The Globalization Of Chikungunya
Chikungunya’s Spread in the Americas – Credit PAHO   # 8970   Up until 2005, Chikungunya was an obscure mosquito-borne disease that only sporadically caused outbreaks in Eastern and central Africa.  Then, in an unexpected plot twist , a mutation in the envelope protein gene (E1-A226V) of the virus allowed Aedes Albopictus or `Asian tiger’ mosquito to transmit the virus more efficiently (see A Single Mutation in Chikungunya Virus Affects Vector […]
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9:34 AM | WHO Ebola Update – August 19th
  # 8969   The World Health Organization has released a new Ebola update, this time adding cases reported between August 14th and August 16th.  Theses numbers are believed to only partially represent the situation on the ground in West Africa, as limited reporting and surveillance in many regions, and the public’s fear of reporting illness, likely influence the count.    Of note, after more than two weeks of seeing relatively low counts – […]
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8:05 AM | 1-in-8, just like the US; foodborne illness in Canada
The Canadians were busy today, when most of them are off at the cottage. The Public Health Agency of Canada has joined with the U.S. and now estimates that each year about 1 in 8 Canadians (4 million people) get … Continue reading →
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7:40 AM | Rumors poisonous, drinking cups safe: UAE Ministry flushes out social media lies
Rumors spread on social networking sites about drinking cups containing carcinogens have been dismissed on by the Ministry of Environment and Water as unfounded. “All locally-produced and imported materials used for packaging, wrapping, covering and preparing foods, and including plastics, … Continue reading →
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7:33 AM | It’s all about knowing your supplier (sic); Rancho Feeding Corp. in US charged with selling sick, unfit cattle
A federal grand jury has indicted Rancho Feeding Corp., the Petaluma, California, slaughterhouse at the center of a massive beef recall, for processing animals condemned by U.S. Department of Agriculture inspectors and processing others that were known to have eye … Continue reading →
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7:25 AM | More than Canada would admit: Denmark says ‘serious errors’ in handling of Listeria outbreak with 12 dead, another 12 sick
Denmark’s food safety watchdog made “serious mistakes” in its handling of a listeria outbreak linked to the death of 12 people, the country’s government has said. Food minister, Dan Jørgensen, has blasted the food authorities, Fødevarestyrelsen, over its handling of … Continue reading →
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7:19 AM | Goats killed by Listeria in Ohio, family says city water system to blame
A grandmother in Crooksville said two of her grandson’s prized goats were killed by Listeria and she blames the city’s water system for it. Kim Burkhart said her veterinarian told her the goats came down with the disease from contaminated … Continue reading →
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1:01 AM | Seattle restaurants may finally get restaurant grading system
It’s deeply weird or deeply hypocritical that Seattle, self-proclaimed home to many things food, doesn’t have a decent restaurant inspection disclosure system. “We’ve tried to make as much information available as possible,” says Becky Elias, Manager of Food Protection for … Continue reading →
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12:35 AM | Fail: eating grass-fed beef cannot help avoid E. coli infection
I’m getting to old for this shit – cow shit, that is. Lisa Egan writes in Nutritional Anarchy, whatever that  is the commercial meat industry’s practice of keeping cattle in feedlots and feeding them grain that is responsible for the … Continue reading →
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12:04 AM | 91 now sick from Norovirus suspected at UK pirate ship lake
A Norovirus outbreak saw a Devon holiday park temporarily close. Several holidaymakers fell ill with suspected norovirus in the last fortnight.  River Dart Country Park, in Ashburton, said that 91 cases of sickness and diarrhea had been reported by visitors to the outdoor activity … Continue reading →

August 18, 2014

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7:09 PM | Keeping lunch safe: back to school edition
With Jack starting kindergarten a couple of weeks ago (we have year-round school in Raleigh), our luxurious summer schedule came to an end. No biggie for me as I’m in the habit of a 5:30 am wake up (it’s quiet … Continue reading →
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7:01 PM | Single-Cell Western Blot
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6:13 PM | CDC Guidance: Donning & Removing PPEs
Surgical Facemask N-95 Respirator      # 8968   Although this information has been published as an update to the CDC’s Ebola Page, the techniques showing how to properly don and to remove PPEs illustrate critical infection control skills, and are valid regardless of the pathogen you are trying to avoid contact with.    Both graphics are part of a PDF File.   I’ll have a bit more after the the break.       […]
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4:55 PM | Iceland: Watching Bárðarbunga
Credit Icelandic Met Office   # 8967   Over the past 48 hours more than 1,000 (mostly small) earthquakes have been recorded very near Iceland’s largest active volcano and the Icelandic Met Office has raised the aviation alert status for Bárðarbunga  to Orange.   While an eruption is by no means certain, Bárðarbunga has an impressive geologic history, making this swarm worth keeping an eye on.     First the latest […]
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3:12 PM | AAAS - Blocking Access to the Scientific Literature Even When They Say It Is "Free"
Today, I wanted to show someone a PDF of a paper of mine that I co-authored in 1999.  The paper was, I think, kind of cool.  It reported the sequencing and analysis of the genome of Deinococcus radiodurans, an incredibly radiation resistant bacterium.  Alas, I did not have a copy on me, and the only electornic device I had with me was my phone.  The person I wanted to show the paper to had their computer, a device with a strange little red trackball and running some sort of […]
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1:55 PM | WHO Update – Travel & Transport In Relation To Ebola Outbreak
# 8966   Last week the World Health Organization –  after seeing a number of air carriers refusing to service African nations – began to push back against the idea that air travel to Ebola-affected countries presented a high risk of infection to passengers and crew (see WHO: Ebola Poses `Low-Risk’ To Air Travelers).   The WHO has also consistently argued against the need for, or effectiveness of, of border closings or travel restrictions to affected […]
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11:30 AM | WHO: Full Report Of Ethics Committee On Experimental Drugs For Ebola
# 8965   The extraordinary spread of Ebola in the West African nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – and the spillover into the highly populated country of Nigeria – has led to numerous calls for the use of untested, experimental drugs on humans in the region.   We’ve already seen one drug – ZMapp – used on a handful of patients.   Last week the World Health Organization convened an ethics committee to consider the idea (see […]
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